How does a Car Wash work?

Anyone who has a car or truck know that they enjoy driving it the most when it is shiny clean. Some people hand wash their cars, but let’s face it, the convenience and low cost of a Car Wash is hard to beat.

It is important to know what exactly your car is doing on its journey from beginning to end through the Car Wash. The first step is placing your car on the conveyor track. The correlator is the device with wheels and rollers that help align the car with the conveyor when it first rolls on.

Once the car has been turned off and put into neutral small rollers pop up behind the wheel, which causes the car to roll forward into the tunnel. Once your car enters the tunnel it passes through an infrared tunnel called eyes, which measures the length of your car for the washing and adjusts the system accordingly.

Immediately after the “eyes” comes the pre-soak. This special solution wets down the car and begins loosening the dirt off your car, and begins removing the brake dust. Next comes the mitter curtain. This cloth runs horizontal across the hood of your car and cleans the hood, roof and trunk.

 Now in comes the foam cleaner and the scrubbers. The scrubbers are very soft and are regularly cleaned and remove the dirt the pre- soak and foam has formed. They clean the front, back and sides of your car. In comes the water blast, which ensures that every inch of the car is washed off. The spray comes in a circular pattern and uses up to 400 gallons to wash off each car. Of course, the water is recycled back to the pressure tank after each use.

In the final stages the car goes through the final rinse arch to make sure all the residue is gone after the water blast. Just when you think the car is done the final rinse arch comes through with un-recycled water and makes sure all the residue is removed completely from the surface of the car.

At this stage the wax arch applies the wax if you wanted it. After the waxing, or if you decided to skip it, the dryer comes in to dry your car. Your car will not dry completely so the attendants can hand dry and fully detail it fully after leaving the tunnel.

Hope this helped you better understand a day in the life of your car.


  1. Jimmy Patrick says

    Great write up. Really cool thought that the cars are all measured using the “eye” to determine how much water and soap to use versus each car/truck getting the same amount and potential wasting or not using enough.

    • Thanks Jimmy! I still think it’s really cool just to see the tunnel go to work. The rest of our customers seem to enjoy the glass windows by the carwash too.

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